While data acquisition is a distinct advantage when considering a datawall, it also helps to understand the potential disadvantages of traditional paywalls.
Loyalty Strategy

Building a Datawall: A Different Way to Cash-In on Premium Content

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Does your loyalty program offer premium content? And does your customer enjoy paying for it?

Well, that seems like a silly question. After all, who enjoys paying for anything? Especially today, in the face of skyrocketing prices and growing economic uncertainty. A recent survey by Country Financial finds that 88% of Americans are highly concerned about inflation, as key indexes shatter record high after record high.

So how can your program justify keeping customers paying premiums to access the content they love — content which, if effective, has an equity value potentially far greater than revenue measured in dollars and cents?

Perhaps there’s another way.

A recent CX development known as a “datawall” protects premium content while simultaneously tapping into another value stream besides typical monetary exchange: the currency of data. It mirrors the format of a traditional paywall, where customers need to sign in and subscribe or pay to access exclusive content such as articles, videos, or offers. However, in a datawall format, all customers need to do is answer questions designed to learn more about them. Demographic information, behavioral preferences, shopping habits, industry knowledge, past brand experiences — or even ideas about future platform desires. This kind of knowledge has typically been very difficult to access outside the domain of dedicated research projects, which itself can be a costly endeavor.

Disadvantages of paywalls

While this data acquisition is a distinct advantage when considering a datawall, it also helps to understand the potential disadvantages of paywalls. A paywall has been described as a zone of high friction from a CX perspective. Blocked content causes frustration, negative attitudes, and an increased bounce rate. And going through subscription or payment steps is a highly involved process. A loyalty program may already have access to key information such as name and email address, but for a payment system, date of birth, billing address, and credit card details are all extra obstacles that can deter customers from continuing down the funnel.

Datawalls: Factors to Consider

Now, will a datawall work for everyone? Certainly not. There’s a specific content format best suited to this system, and a set of criteria you should thoroughly consider before implementing the tactic. If you believe that a datawall might be right for you, first think carefully about these factors:

Mind the Math

Data is more valuable than ever. The insights it can supply bolsters long-term performance optimization and improves short term decision-making, leading to tangible revenue growth. But the big question is: is this data more valuable than actual monetary revenue? This is a question that each loyalty vendor will need to answer uniquely. They must weigh the loss of revenue from forgoing charging money for premium content against the potential gains from simplified, enhanced access to deeper, on-demand customer data.

Filter the Facts

Sometimes, data really is a case of “more is better”. Especially when it comes cheaply and easily. A datawall, on the other hand, is a whole different ballgame. In a scenario where brands are racing against the proverbial clock to get customers through the system as quickly as possible, each vendor must carefully prioritize the data they really need to receive. A careful search through your past and future strategic goals should reveal where further information would actually enhance decision-making processes.

Consider the Content

A datawall works great for quick-access content made available at the end of an existing behavior funnel. Perhaps your audience has already navigated standard-issue videos, for example, with the option to get entry into a “premium” video after they’ve exhausted all others. Then it’s simply a matter of filling an additional data form to readily access this premium content. A datawall probably isn’t the best solution for long-cycle, repetitive content, such as videos, articles, or resources that are expected to be distributed at regular times, such as weekly or monthly. In these formats, traditional pay-to-play subscription models may indeed be a more lucrative solution.

Recommended Read: 2021 Premium Loyalty Study Highlights Rising Consumer Expectations

Building a Datawall: A Different Way to Cash-In on Premium Content
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